Chinese film actor Jet Li made an appearance after his long absence at One Foundation’s charity dinner last week with puffy eyes and a swollen face caused by hyperthyroidism.
The 52-year-old actor sighed as he spoke about his illness, which he has been battling for the past five years. “I am fat. I don’t have time to lose weight. It’s true that due to my hyperthyroidism illness, my heart rate can go up to 130 to 140 beats per minute even when I’m not exercising. I’m not Huo Yuan Jia or Wong Fei Hong. I’m no superhero, I’m just an ordinary man and I’m facing the issue of being unable to continue with my job.”
His illness affects his metabolism and thus impacts his physical appearance the most, causing him to either slim down or gain weight drastically. He was even mistaken to have cancer when his weight suddenly plummeted by over 8kg at the time he first discovered his illness.
“At that time, Jet needed to keep taking medicine and go for blood tests regularly. After a year of doing that, his condition stablised and he thought he had recovered, but two years later, he had a relapse where his body and eyes became visibly swollen. He was so worried!” revealed an insider.
His good friend, producer Tiffany Chen, revealed that because Jet does not want to continue consuming Western medication, he has switched to traditional Chinese medicine. However, the medicine is unable to fully stabilise his condition.
She continued, “He has been suffering for these few years because his illness has affected his mood and his appetite. Fortunately, because of his Buddhism beliefs, he can calm himself down with meditation and scripture reading.”
The Chinese Red Cross ambassador began to accept fewer acting jobs to become the founder of One Foundation in 2007. Last year, he only attended the film screening of one Hollywood film.